A tribute to and a lament for Marshall McLuhan.  Five days a week, Tuesday through Saturday, I present one of McLuhan’s observations and talk about its relevance today.  300 ideas. 300 days.  300 posts.

How are you?

Marshall McLuhan (January 25, 1973, age 61).  I hate that question.

You walk into a room, pass someone strolling down the street, or bump into an acquaintance at work, and dollars to donuts they’ll look you straight in the eye and say, “How are you?” or “How are you feeling?” or “How are you doing.”  It makes me wince.  It’s as if they’d stepped on my toes.  Clearly, they don’t really care how I am, it’s just a load of social hooey.  My usual reply is, “Are you sure you really want to know?  Because if you do this may take some time.”

Me (May 2010, age 57).   I hate that question too.

Another question I dislike is “Are you busy?”  Of course I am but that’s not the question is it?

What social greetings do you dislike?

Cordially, Marshall and Me

Reading for this post

Letters of Marshall McLuhan, 1987, pp. 463.

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Michael Hinton Thursday, May 6th, 2010
Permalink 1970s and 80s, Communication, Culture, Vol. 1 1 Comment

1 Comment to How are you?

  • Michael Edmunds says:

    If I may speaking of social conventions…
    Being domiciled in Toronto I usually in a social situation will ask of a person whom I’ve just met some leading question re McLuhan. Did you know him, read him hate him etc.And I get back some interesting stuff.
    One such occasion, a person who had a quasi diplomatic role recounted how at an early phase of her particular group setting up in Toronto in temporary quarters a launch was made to which McLuhan was invited. This event included food and drinks. A buffet table with the usual foods was there, but as typical, it was a stand up affair. You and I would probably juggle our wine glass and plate in one hand while stuffing ourselves with the other. Not McLuhan.

    The women reported, that McLuhan hunted out a chair and dragged it to the buffet table, placed it there, sat in it and ate by himself. The women
    obviously felt it was off beat, but yet it was also (at least from the advantage of a distant recollection) accepted as well…McLuhan.

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